MEPs have delivered a blow to Theresa May by demanding talks on a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU are delayed because of Britain’s confused stance. The European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a motion warning that “sufficient progress has not yet been made” on agreeing the divorce deal. EU leaders have insisted Britain must first move to settle three key separation issues: the financial settlement, the future rights of EU citizens and the Irish border. But the motion – passed unamended – instead accused the UK of having “seriously impeded” talks over the divorce bill because of a lack of “clear proposals”.
MEPs have voted to urge the EU not to open the next phase of Brexit talks unless there is a “major breakthrough”. A motion in the European Parliament to back a delay in any decision over trade discussions was backed by 557 MEPs, with 92 against and 29 abstentions. Several MEPs claimed UK divisions were hampering the process with one urging Theresa May urged to “put Britain first” and avoid internal “quarrels”. But UKIP’s Nigel Farage accused the EU of “treating the UK like a hostage”. Tuesday’s vote in Strasbourg was not binding, but does represent a chance to “take the political temperature”, BBC Brussels reporter Adam Fleming said.
EU chiefs made a show on Tuesday of telling Theresa May that the UK has still not done enough to be allowed to discuss a future trade with the European Union. President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said British negotiators must give ground in agreeing the terms of withdrawal, in a move likely to anger Conservative Brexiteers. He was flanked by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and the European Parliament’s Brexit lead Guy Verhofstadt who both demanded more clarity for the UK. It comes after Ms May’s Brexit speech in Florence, which all three men said had improved negotiations and allowed some progress, and ahead of her keynote speech to Conservative conference on Wednesday. But they signaled it is unlikely that the EU will allow talks to move on to future trade in October without further concessions on guaranteeing EU citizens’ rights, settling the divorce bill and the Irish border – with the role of the European Court a key sticking point.
MEPs have voted to block Brexit negotiations moving to the next phase on the UK’s future relationship with the EU. They said a lack of sufficient progress on divorce issues so far meant talks shouldn’t progress. A resolution in the European Parliament calling for a delay passed overwhelmingly, after a debate when splits in Theresa May’s Cabinet over Brexit were frequently cited. Chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told the parliament that there are still “serious divergences, especially on the financial settlement”. But UKIP MEP and Brexiteer Nigel Farage accused the EU of holding the UK hostage and dragging things out.
The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly against progressing Brexit negotiations on to trade talks, deciding that Britain has not made “sufficient progress” on its demands with respect to the EU court and a so-called divorce bill. The president of the parliament — which is largely unable to initiate or repeal EU legislation and policy, only debate and propose amendments to it — had previously raised eyebrows by declaring that “sufficient progress” had not been made before the previous round of negotiations had even finished. The non-binding vote comes as Bloomberg reports that Theresa May — under pressure from Brexit supporters for “appeasing” the EU — is making her Florence offer to fulfil £20 billion in EU spending commitments after Brexit conditional on a broader deal, putting a successful settlement in serious doubt.
MICHEL Barnier today warned British negotiators not to test the EU’s patience over the integrity of the Single Market, telling them he will be “intransigent” when it comes to defending the bloc’s interests. The Frenchman insisted that he was not out for “revenge” or to “punish” the UK but said that British politicians must “respect” how the club works in the same way that Brussels has accepted the referendum result. During a debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg the EU’s chief negotiator said he had “great admiration” for Britain as a country and denied accusations that he is deliberately stalling the talks. And he reiterated his commitment to securing an unprecedented new partnership with the UK, but said he would need a “new mandate” from EU leaders to open talks on a transition and eventual future trade deal.
“The European Parliament has voted by a massive majority of 557 supporting a resolution that basically wants Britain to be humiliated, to go down on our knees, to make a whole series of concessions before they even begin to talk to us about a trade deal. And when you think that at the end of the Commission and the British Government going through protracted negotiations, the European Parliament can veto that deal. It’s beginning to feel to me like we’re wasting our time here. Let’s crack on and get out as soon as possible.”
Britain will be ready if the Brexit talks fail, as a lack of preparation would be a dereliction of duty, David Davis, the Brexit secretary, has said. Speaking to the Conservative party conference, the senior cabinet minister said there was “cause for optimism” that a deal would be achieved but the government would be braced for the possibility of failure. “If the outcome of the negotiation falls short of the deal that Britain needs, we will be ready for the alternative,” he said. “So there is a determined exercise under way in Whitehall devoted to contingency arrangements so that we are ready for any outcome.” He cautioned against believing “lurid accounts of the negotiations with the predictions of breakdown and crisis” but acknowledged some of the exchanges have been tough. He also warned that while the prizes for the success of a good Brexit deal would be “enormous”, so could be the consequences of failure.
Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has insisted that the government are indeed preparing for a ‘No Deal’ scenario with the European Union. Asked by the BBC what the plan was if the EU decided to continue with its hardline approach, Brexiteer Fox said that: “We’re conducting extensive reviews across Whitehall on contingency if we don’t reach a deal. “But we’re certainly not going to be telling those we’re negotiating with and certainly not on TV what those contingencies might be.” This is the of course the correct, logical thing to be doing. Whether it comes to huge Brexit bills or European Courts the EU is insisting on big concessions from the UK and talks are dragging during the current Article 50 period. The ability to be able to walk away with ‘No Deal’ and pay nothing to the EU is what gives Britain a stronger negotiating hand. If Brussels want to play hardball, the British government must walk away.
DAVID Davis has issued a stark warning to the EU that Britain will be ready for no deal if talks break down at the end of the year. The threat comes ahead of crunch Brexit talks next week where the European Commission has to decide whether to open negotiations on a future trade deal. If trade talks do not begin by the end of the year the Government is under severe pressure from Tory backbenchers to walk out and start preparing for a successful future free of Brussels. The prospect of progress being halted was raised last month when the Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has claimed that not enough progress has been made on a divorce bill and citizens’ rights to move the talks on to the future relationship. Addressing the Conservative conference in Manchester, Mr Davis said that the UK is ready for a no deal situation.
Theresa May will attempt to heal divisions within the Conservative Party on Wednesday as she calls on her colleagues to “shape up” and do their duty for Britain. In a conference speech that will help determine her future as leader, the Prime Minister will tell her Cabinet they must focus on the job security of “ordinary working people” rather than the security of their own positions. Mrs May must use her speech to convince MPs and party members that they should keep faith with her as leader, whilst also trying to convince her Cabinet to end their recent squabbles and line up behind her. Like Boris Johnson did in his own speech yesterday, Mrs May will draw inspiration from Sir Winston Churchill by calling on the country to “go forward together” – a favourite wartime saying of Churchill that was used on propaganda posters at the time.
Theresa May will beg her squabbling party to “shape up” today after warring cabinet ministers traded jibes from the platform of the Conservatives’ annual conference. The prime minister will close the gathering in Manchester with a plea for her colleagues to set aside their own ambitions and “do our duty by Britain”. She is expected to set out a package of measures to boost house-building and limit domestic bills as she tries to check Labour’s electoral momentum since the snap election that robbed the Tories of their Commons majority. Boris Johnson used his conference speech yesterday to intensify attacks on cabinet rivals such as Philip Hammond, the chancellor, who are pushing for a soft Brexit.
Theresa May will today warn her squabbling Cabinet to stop fighting and ‘do our duty by Britain’. After a fraught week in Manchester, the Prime Minister will tell the Conservative conference it is time for the party to ‘shape up’ and focus on delivering for voters. Mrs May will also unveil a string of policy initiatives. Plans include what one senior Tory described as a ‘revolution in housebuilding’ designed to win over the under-40s. The Tories’ annual gathering has been overshadowed by Cabinet infighting sparked by Mr Johnson’s decision to go public with his concerns about the Government’s direction on Brexit. Last month he published an unauthorised 4,000-word essay laying out his personal manifesto for Brexit. Then, on the eve of the conference, he used an interview to lay out his own ‘red lines’.
Boris Johnson has said that Britain must stop treating Brexit as if it is a “plague of boils” and instead “roar” like a lion about the opportunities it presents. The Foreign Secretary used his 29-minute keynote conference speech to attack Brexit “pessimists” who “make Eeyore look positively exuberant”. His 29-minute speech, which ranged far from his foreign policy brief and touched on the economy, housebuilding and education, added to mounting speculation about his leadership ambitions. His speech was given a standing ovation by Tory activists, who had packed the conference hall to see him speak.
Boris Johnson carried his cabinet feud over Brexit on to the Conservative conference floor yesterday, saying he was not prepared to allow Britain to remain in a “dingy anteroom of the EU”. The foreign secretary rallied his Tory supporters, most of whom backed leaving the EU, with a speech peppered with coded swipes at those, such as Philip Hammond, the chancellor, pressing for a soft Brexit. Mr Johnson has withdrawn some of the public demands he set out on Theresa May’s Brexit position after his second show of disloyalty in two weeks led to growing calls for his dismissal. He professed loyalty to the prime minister, praising her “steadfastness” and saying she won the election.
Boris Johnson made his pitch to Tory activists with a rallying cry for Brexit and jibes at Jeremy Corbyn today – but was snubbed by the PM. In a barnstorming address that roamed well beyond his brief to cover issues such as low pay, childcare and Green technology, the Foreign Secretary warned that the party must defend capitalism and ‘win the battle for the future’. Mr Johnson also praised Mrs May for her ‘steadfastness’ and said the ‘whole Cabinet was united’, saying she would secure a ‘great deal’ with Brussels. But Mrs May and other key ministers were not present to hear the rousing show, after a bitter row over his leadership manoeuvring. The absence underlines the fury at Mr Johnson over his high-profile interventions on Brexit that have seemingly been designed to press his case for the top job.
For the B-grade celeb with whom the public has fallen out of love, there’s always one last payday waiting in the children’s literature market, and to that end, Boris Johnson could still be one step ahead of the game. The Lion That Couldn’t Say Roar. It’s a decent title. And fitting enough too, given the Foreign Secretary would inevitably be the titular character, and it almost contains the word lie. After long weeks of calculatedly undermining the Prime Minister, he had briefed his conference speech as having the title “Let the Lion Roar”. But when it came to saying the word roar, the final word of this long awaited speech, the orator’s voice switched to a mysterious croak. It was an appropriately underwhelming conclusion to an appropriately underwhelming day at a party conference that has only contained any shred of interest through the overwhelming degree to which it has underwhelmed.
BORIS Johnson has insisted it is time to “let the lion roar” as he heralded Britain for “having the guts” for Brexit. In a barnstorming speech to the Tory faithful, the Foreign Secretary insisted leaving the EU would be a huge success if politicians back the ingenuity and hard-working spirit of the British people. The 53-year-old also hailed it as “a privilege” to be a member of the Cabinet and in charge of “this amazing country at a critical moment in our history”. Leaving the Manchester conference delighted with his upbeat vision, Tory MP supporters also insisted it marked him out as the party’s next leader.
The vast majority of councils will be hit by a dramatic shortage of care home places within five years, a major audit reveals today. An incredible 87 per cent of town halls will not have enough places to meet demand by 2022 – because they are not doing enough to cope with the demands of an ageing population. The shortfall is set to be particularly acute in 14 areas, where the number of extra care home places the council is planning is at least 25 per cent lower than needed. The analysis by the consumer group Which? found that by 2022, there will be an estimated shortfall of 42,000 elderly care home beds across England. In the worst-hit area – Bracknell Forest in Berkshire – there will be 161 fewer places than needed, a shortfall of 53 per cent.
Christmas shopping could be thrown into chaos after union bosses threatened a postal strike. Royal Mail workers voted overwhelmingly for industrial action in a dispute over pensions, pay and working conditions. Dates for the first national strike since the company was privatised in October 2013 have not been confirmed. But sources suggest the Communication Workers Union could walk out on November 24 and 25 to coincide with the ‘Black Friday’ sales when many families start their Christmas shopping. A strike on those dates could cause major disruption at sorting offices and delay the delivery of millions of items snapped up online at heavy discounts. Union leaders are due to meet tomorrow to decide on action following the nationwide ballot of members.
Posties have voted by a thumping majority for action that could cause their first strike since Royal Mail was privatised. Workers were massively in favour of industrial action in a bitter dispute over pensions, pay and jobs. Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) backed walkouts by 89% on a turnout of 73% of the 110,000 balloted. That easily passed new thresholds in the Government’s controversial Trade Union Act. Previously Unite general secretary Len McCluskey raised the threat of strikes going ahead anyway even if the thresholds were not met. The CWU believes it is a “watershed” moment for unions as well as the Royal Mail, which it has accused of following a “relentless” programme of cost-cutting to maximise short-term profits and shareholder returns. The union accused the company of “unilaterally” closing its defined benefit, or final salary, pension scheme, with new entrants going into an “inferior” scheme which will leave them in “pensioner poverty”.
A TUBE strike scheduled for Thursday has been called off after progress was made in talks, it has been announced. London Underground train drivers were due to walk out for 24 hours this week in a row over working practices – including having to work weekends. But drivers’ union Aslef today announced the walk-out was being called off after last-minute crunch talks with Tube bosses. Finn Brennan, Aslef’s organiser on London Underground, said: “I am pleased to say that the our negotiating team believes they we have made sufficient progress in talks at Acas to recommend to the Aslef executive committee that the strike called for Thursday be suspended.
The Catalan leader has vowed to declare independence from Spain in a matter of days. Carles Puigdemont was speaking less than an hour after a rare intervention from the Spanish King, Felipe VI, who had stated Catalan leaders had put themselves “outside the law”. Mr Puigdemont said in an interview with the BBC that his government would “act at the end of this week or the beginning of next”. He said that, were the Spanish government to intervene, it would be “an error which changes everything”.
The leader of Catalonia has announced that the region will declare independence in a matter of days. Carles Puigdemont said that his government would ‘act at the end of this week or the beginning of next’. When asked what Puigdemont would do if the Spanish government were to intervene and take control of Catalonia’s government, he said it would be ‘an error which changes everything’. Last night, thousands marched outside the General Direction of the National Police of Spain in Barcelona to protest against the violence that marred Sunday’s referendum. It comes as Spain’s King Felipe VI condemned the Catalan authorities over their ‘irresponsible conduct’ after an ‘illegal’ vote was held. The referendum has plunged Spain into its worst constitutional crisis in decades with millions voting for separation in defiance of Spanish courts that had ruled the ballot illegal.
CATALONIA’S leader has vowed to declare independence in a matter of days as the King of Spain denounced the referendum in a rare TV appearance. In his first interview since the referendum, Carles Puigdemont told the BBC said his government would “act at the end of this week or the beginning of next”. Crowds supporting the Catalan’s nationalists in Barcelona tonight yelled for national security forces to get out of the region, branding them “occupation forces” and raising their middle fingers at a police helicopter circling overhead. Tens of thousands surged through the streets of the northeastern region against action by the police who tried to disrupt Sunday’s vote by firing rubber bullets and charging into crowds with truncheons. When asked what he would do if the Spanish government were to intervene and take control of Catalonia’s government, Mr Puigdemont said it would be “an error which changes everything”.
The Catalan authorities have deliberately bent the law with their “irresponsible conduct”, Spain’s King Felipe VI has said. Delivering an address to the nation by television, the king said that the bid by authorities in the northeastern region to push ahead with independence has “undermined coexistence” in Catalonia. “Today, Catalan society is fractured and confronted,” King Felipe said, referring to the political crisis as “very serious moments for our democratic life”. He said that the state needs to ensure Spain’s constitutional order and the correct functioning of Catalan institutions and rule of law. Spain’s conservative government has said it will respond with “all necessary measures” to counter the Catalan defiance. It is holding talks with national opposition leaders to try to find consensus on the response, which could include suspending the region’s self-government.